Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Mysteries of an Overgrown Garden

As I continue to remove weeds and thorny brambles from my somewhat neglected garden, I keep finding exciting new things that once had so much potential!  The garden has been here quite a while, with many previous care-takers, so it's difficult to know exactly when different projects were completed, or who worked on them.

 Here are the two discoveries I made the other day while attacking blackberries:

The first is an area that is marked off with edging into 3 raised concentric circles.  It is slightly reminiscent of an herb spiral (though not a spiral, and the edging is way uglier than any permaculture material I've seen).  I found some strawberry plant labels lurking in the top circle, though, which makes me think that an herb spiral-esque design was, indeed the intent of this area.  The plastic is way ugly, and I'd love to just yank it out, but I hate to waste all the hard work and materials that went into the project.  Maybe if I plant it with really bushy things that hide the plastic, I won't mind it. This kind of defeats my previous plans to put a compost pile in this corner, though.

I'm still not brave enough to see what's in the bucket.  But you can see the plastic edging here.

The other discovery is, I think, truly bizarre.  It is a plant cemetery...or that's what it looks like, right?

But there are dozens and dozens of former baby plants here!

The weird part is, there are 4 whole flats (I think with 20 plants each), that contained all the same perennial.  And to the far right, you can see some variegated wallflower that looks like it's just growing in the ground... it is actually a clump of about 12 gallon pots of the stuff.  

Maybe this is not truly that weird (especially if the former garden care-taker found the plants on clearance), but buying 80 of the same (not very exciting) perennial?  And then just leaving it there to die?  My penny-pinching self just can't quite fathom it.  She must have really had a busy summer.

Out of the dozens and dozens of former baby plants, the 80 that are the same are all dead, but there was a nice, big thyme that I plan to keep, along with all that wallflower and a few rather nondescript succulent-looking things that I couldn't reach without stomping on trays of plants.  Not a bad haul, especially considering that I thought that corner of the garden contained nothing but tall weeds!

What are your thoughts about the existing beds?  Would you rather build on someone else's garden plans, or start from scratch and design your own?  I'd love to hear anyone else's ideas or stories about yards or gardens that they've inherited!


  1. Thanks for visiting my blog :)

    From the picture it looks like an attempt to grow plants and sell them. My guess anyway. lol When I worked at a greenhouse and we had a lot of plants that didn't make it, they'd get dumped in a field somewhere. Not with the pots, but you never know about some people. I'd keep the pots too, personally..

  2. Hi, Nichole,
    We knew the previous renters a little bit, and I'm pretty sure they had no intentions of selling plants. I think it was just good planting intentions gone wrong! I'm way excited to keep the pots - what a find!

  3. ImagesOfRealHope.orgJanuary 16, 2012 at 11:17 PM

    Years ago we came across a couple of grocery stores with shopping carts full of dying plants they couldn't sell. They were eager for us to take them off their hands for us to use to help our sad clay soil. Maybe the former folks at your place had the same idea, but never finished the project.

    Inherited gardens... If what you found works for you, enjoy the gift of labor that someone else provided. If you find yourself saying, "what were they thinking!?", rip it out and re-create.

    We replaced rotting railroad ties with granite boulders and loved the more natural look they gave as borders. It was a lot of grunt work, but we sure enjoyed the finished product.

  4. Hi, Dad,
    Yeah, I think she must have found them on clearance at least - there were just so many! I know her husband had some health issues in the past, so I wonder if maybe something came up that distracted her from her original plans for them.
    I think so far I will leave the existing ugly plastic structure in place and try to use it... not really up to a lot of grunt work right now!
    Thanks for reading. :)


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